Shell to Face Human Rights Claims Over Oil Pollution in Niger Delta

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Thousands of Nigerian villagers have been granted the right to bring human rights claims against Shell due to chronic oil pollution and the devastating impact it has had on their water sources and way of life.

This was made known recently in a recent ruling by a high court in London.

Mrs Justice May’s ruling opens the door for more than 13,000 farmers and fishers from the Ogale and Bille communities in the Niger delta to pursue legal action against Shell for alleged breaches of their right to a clean environment.

The judge highlighted the arguable breach of the villagers’ right to a clean environment under the Nigerian constitution and the African charter on human and people‚Äôs rights, emphasizing that claims under these rights have no limitation period.

Responding to the judgment, Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), acknowledged responsibility for spills and stated that it compensates affected parties in accordance with Nigerian regulations. However, the company denies owing a direct duty of care to the claimants.

Matthew Renshaw, representing the villagers, described the ruling as a significant moment in their fight against Shell to hold them accountable for the oil pollution that has severely affected their land and lives. Renshaw highlighted Shell’s repeated attempts to use technicalities to delay the claims.

While Shell maintains its stance on the cause of pollution, emphasizing theft and sabotage in the Niger delta as major contributors to spills, the claimants are preparing for a trial seeking a full cleanup and compensation for the damages caused.

Despite previous legal complexities, the claimants now anticipate a trial to fully present their case for justice and restitution.

A hearing for further legal arguments is set for December 12 and 13.

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